Fall By Jason Duke

It hurts! The well-hung man fucking Leslie Dodd in the ass… HURTS.

But it does not start out that way–she does not ask for it–but the Billie Holiday gives it to her, anyway: the pig.

It is not her first backdoor adventure, but fuck she thinks, it still hurts!

When she steps into the alley with the Billie five minutes ago to make a quick buck, she does not think he will pull it out and stuck it in her ass. It is an occupational hazard, she understands, and tries to protest, “Hey! That costs EXTRA!”

But the Billie is a big guy: real big. Like 220 pounds big. He keeps her pressed against the rain-slick wall, pushing her cheek into the slimy brick.

Grunts, “Almost done, darlin’,” pumping: in, out…in, out…. thrusting so violent she wants to scream. It hurts so bad.

But she does not scream, just stands there with her legs spread, face shoved to the wet brick, the stink of week old Korean Barbecue in her nose rising from the trashcans behind the place she takes him.

The Billie’s friends come into the alley, but the Billie keeps going.

That’s what she calls the men she sleeps with for money: ‘Billies’. Rather than ‘Johns’. So unoriginal. Boring. Though right now, she’d settle for boring and unoriginal. She names them after the famous Jazz singer: ‘Billie Holiday’. Because Leslie’d rather be with a woman than a man. When she closes her eyes, pretends Billie Holliday is fucking her with a strap-on, THAT simply is a fantasy Leslie can lose herself within.

Normally, when she loses herself that way doesn’t seem quite so bad. But this time, not even the fantasy can pull her from where she’s at. What’s happening to her. More to the point: what’s being done to her. Because it still hurts like a motherfucker; but doesn’t seem quite so bad? No. It’s bad. Real bad.

When she sees the other Billies. Now she gets worried. Real worried. “Jesus, Carl,” one of ‘em says, “You’re not done yet?” The Billie grunts, “Almost done.” Leslie struggles, “What the fuck. Why are they here?”

“Nothing. They’re just waiting. Almost done. Just let ‘em watch.”

“What?” she says. Now it’s getting pretty fucking bad. The other Billies stand around, watching. She fears they’re waiting their turn. Waiting to begin little gangland backdoor adventures of their own. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Still, she tries to block it out. Attempts to ‘psychologize’ that shit. As in… it’s all just a dream type shit.

Then…

When she wakes up. She’ll be back in her apartment. It will all be just a horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE dream. A terrible nightmare. Click those ruby slippers together, girl, and say, ‘There’s no place like home’… ‘There’s no place like home’… and…NOPE. She’s still there. Legs spread, body trapped against the brick. Her arms pinned. The Billie, having his go at her. The well-hung man, slamming into her: harder… Harder….. HARDER.

Now. Leslie Dodd thinks on what she has in common with the real Billy Holliday. And that kind of works. A little. It doesn’t take her mind off the ass pounding she is receiving. Not fully. She realizes nothing is going to fully take her mind off that. So she thinks on what she has in common. Leslie shares two things in common with Lady Day. Another reason why she likes the Jazz singer so much. The first: Holliday was raped when she was a little girl. The second: she was a hooker by the time she was fourteen.

Inside, Leslie is SCREAMING. She looks at the Billies standing around. Sees it in their eyes. They want her to scream. But she holds it all in. Finally he finishes, turns her over, and punches her in the jaw. When she takes the hit and doesn’t fall down, he thinks it’s a challenge to his manhood.

Which is, fucking muy magnifico, because next thing she knows, she is seeing stars. He has socked her so hard in the right eye that little spots of bright light are flashing in her eyes–dancing there.

Now. She falls down.

She wishes she had done that in the first place. The other Billies start kicking her, wanting in on the fun. They must prove their manhood, too.

She wishes she’d just fall down, because, at some point: We all fall down. Everybody takes a fall in their lives, some time.

*

Leslie Dodd is in the hospital for three long months, eating out of a straw.

Then Leslie Dodd is back at her apartment, trying the key in the apartment door. But… the key don’t fit.

“What the fuck!”

She goes around to the alley.

“This is some happy horse shit.”

The bedroom window.

“…fucking happy horse shit…”

She remembers the window doesn’t latch right. “…Cock sucker…” She’s used it in the past to get inside. She will try that. “What else will go wrong? Huh?” She talks to that invisible person we ALL talk to, sometimes. On occasion, she leaves her keys in the apartment and locks herself out. Hence, the window.

She wiggles it and–success!–it opens and she climbs in. But she hears the shower running. The bathroom door is ajar. Sees the light, pouring out, the wispy tendrils of white steam, reaching out as though snakes, writhing on the hardwood floor, into the hallway, where a scroll metal-framed mirror is hung.

Not her mirror…

None of it is hers. She looks around. Doesn’t recognize a thing. Not one goddamn piece of furniture. Or… Tupperware. Besides, she wouldn’t be caught dead with an Ikea Tof-teryd coffee table in her living room.

Not with a piece of furniture that sounds like something shit out of your ass.

The shower stops. A second later, woman exits bathroom. Wrapped in a towel. She looks like a Lana Turner, with dirtier brown hair. Bigger tits. Leslie looks at Lana’s tits, squeezed behind the towel. Lana’s big tits squeeze Leslie’s attention between them. Then Lana’s tits knock Leslie’s attention around like a boxer pummeling a speed bag.

Then…

Leslie sees woman’s eyes. Haunting, Lana Turner eyes. Lana, batting her long, pretty lashes. Then, “Who the fuck are you,” Lana says, indignantly. Notices what Leslie is staring at. Tightens the towel. Lana angling her body away to the side. Then a barking Labradoodle charges out of the spare bedroom, wagging its tail happily. Then, does a one-eighty back into the bedroom.

Leslie says, “I live here,” pause to stare at each other. Leslie blinks first. Then, “Who the fuck are you?”

*

Her name is Suanne Belle.

The apartment is on Alabama Street under the neighbor that makes her cry. His name is “George”. She has an institutionalized twenty-four year old son, Garth. A neurotic Labradoodle, Tabitha. But she calls it, ‘Tubbs’.

The dog is almost as neurotic as Suzie, almost.

She is a real estate agent. Her favorite show to watch is ‘Breaking Bad’. Garth is in the Alpine Special Treatment Center. A locked mental health and rehabilitation and transitional care facility. She is CRAZY. Crazy Eyes, crazy. A Psychobitch gene-carrier. The poor kid never stood a chance. He inherited the crazy from her.

“You buy-taste-cock!”

That’s the apartment manager, Hussein, screaming at Leslie.

A fat Arab prick, Hitler ‘stache, and a rudimentary grasp of English. Hitler ‘stache thought Leslie was dead.

Or, knowing Leslie’s line of work, thought maybe Leslie split, skipped to another part of town, moved on to greener pastures. Figured, she wasn’t coming back.

So, he rented out the apartment.

You guessed it, to Suzie.

“What?” asks Leslie.

Hussein says, “Stay here. You need dick.”

He points at the ground.

But Leslie still doesn’t get it.

“My balls to fingers,” He says.

Wiggling his fingers in the air.

She shrugs, “Huh?”

He says: “You take cum and”–licks his fingers, one at a time. Then, Mwa!–kissing the air. He makes the bellissimo with his fingers, to the air. Rubs his tummy, goodness–“pay rent!”

“What?”

“You taste cock.” He says it, increasingly frustrated. Points to the ground. “You stay here. You taste cock!” Then gives up. He can’t explain with his limited vocabulary, throws up arms, and says: “You taste cock. Not here!”

Hussein shakes his head. Begins talking bunch of Arab nonsense. Leslie doesn’t understand, “Fine. Look, I don’t care why the place was rented. All I want to know is where’s my–”

Suzie interrupts, “He threw it out. I think.”

“Sorry. What’s your name?”

“Susan.”

“Fine. Susan. What makes you–”

Doesn’t give a chance to finish a complete sentence. Interrupts, “Because I saw him dump it in the alley.”

Wagging his finger, Hussein points to the gate: “GO!” He shouts.

Leslie points her finger back at him. Then to the apartment. She shoves her finger in his face. Jabs her finger into his man tits. “Where’s my stuff!” Yelling at him. “I want my stuff back.” she says. “Bring it, HERE.” She is not leaving. “Not until you bring my stuff.”

Then he starts waving his hand in front of his nose, as though a bad smell in the air. “Shit.” Waving away the stink, pointing at her, “Shit.” Waving his hand in front of his nose. Waving away the imaginary stink. Pointing. Shouting. “Shit!”

He is saying she is shit. Is that it? Hitler stache got some nerve. Leslie getting ready to kick stache in the balls. No. Her stuff is shit. Finally, Leslie understands. What the stache is yelling sinks in. Her stuff is shit. That is why he threw it away.

Leslie: “Um, No. I don’t THINK SO. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. You can go Sieg Heil that shit, elsewhere. Uh-uh. Fuck you, Habib. My stuff was not shit. So what if I found it in the alley? That doesn’t, um, mean it belongs there. You had no right, Saddam! Just because it comes from the alley. Um. That don’t mean, throw it away.”

“Shit!” Hussein says, again.

Leslie: “I want my stuff.”

Hussein: …Shit!…

Leslie: I want it back. NOW.

Shit! Shit! SHIT!

I’m not leaving, Saddam! Until he brings my stuff. Final–”

Suzie cuts in, “It really was just a bunch of junk. I mean, I know it was valuable to you. But legally speaking. It wasn’t worth anything. I don’t think you have a case to make.”

“Legally speaking? Who–”

Again, interrupts, “I draft and review legal contracts for realtors–”

“–the fuck do you think you are–”

“–Excuse me? I know something about the law.”

“–Johnnie Cochran?”

“We can call the cops,” Suzie says, “let them sort this out.”

Hussein nods in agreement. He points at Suzie. “Po-po… po-po…” He says. Nodding. Pointing.

“Fuck you Mr. Yo!MTV Raps,” Leslie points. Then Leslie glares at Suzie. But Suzie keeps quiet. She smiles.

Turning her back, walking away, Leslie mutters, “Forget this. I’m out of here.”

*

“Hey… Wait a sec.”

Suzie chases down Leslie. But Leslie ignores Suzie. Keeps trucking down the street. Leslie is a Mack truck. An angry rumbling truck with no cargo. With a full tank of gas, going diligently: nowhere.

Leslie is thinking…Fuck off!..Fuck you!…Don’t fuck with this Mack…Suck my dick!…..(if I had one; I think I do, sometime)……..Don’t get in front of this angry Mack….Get the fuck out of the way!

Finally, Suzie catches up. She can read like a book what is plainly written in the hate-fucking Leslie is giving with her blue eyes ringed in dark circles. “Hey.” But Suzie will take her chances. She stands in front of Leslie.

Hitting the brakes, Leslie stops. “WHAT!” looks away. Because she can’t look Suzie in the eye. Not can’t: won’t. Afraid what might happen. Again, Suzie reads Leslie’s body language. All those things Leslie is thinking. Plain as day.

Then…

“So…..” says Suzie, looking around sheepishly, “What are you going to do now?”

“Girlie.” Leslie keeps trucking. “I just lost everything I owned in the world so you can have a roof over your head.” She says, over her shoulder.

“It wasn’t my fault.”

Leslie keeps walking. “WhatEVER.” Doesn’t turn around.

“Let me make it up to you. Let me buy you a drink.”

*

The bar is called ‘Live Wire’.

The bar is a block up the street on the corner. Leslie don’t ply her trade in bars. So never once been in this bar. Though, picked up a few Billies outside.

Inside, first through the door, thought occurs ‘Yep, it’s a dive.’ Joint looks as though it’s been around fifty plus years. The same place. Not once has it been remodeled. At least, looks that way.

She feels like shouting: ‘Get a life, LOSERS! Retro is DEAD!’

But someone forgot to tell these losers that… The hipsters, punks, and rockabillies crowding the bar, with their tattoo sleeves, their unsavory looks. ‘As if they don’t got a dime to their name, or a pot to piss in (as if). Drinking five dollar Pabst tall boys (way cooool). Eight dollar margaritas.’

The thoughts swim through her head.

‘They’re so fucking cooool living their pretend lives in this place. Unless they work in a tattoo parlor or Hot Topics they’ll disrobe the costumes when they leave this place to go back to their routine ordinary jobs. Nothing wrong with that. But when they wear the costumes why do they act so stuck about an image? The narcissistic little flops think their shit don’t stink but the reality is they’re a bunch of silly looking ass-clowns that belong in a circus in the freak show with the rest of the freaks.’

Then…..

There on the wall, behind the bar–Leslie sees it–strung across the shelves, above the overpriced beer taps, the bottles of booze: a shrine to retro living and bad taste…Lava lamps…Christmas lights….. ukulele…fuzzy jack-a-lope wearing glasses…….Homer Simpson and friends…..hello Santa Clause…picture frames..and bullshit memories, and red smiling devil mask.

Again, thought occurs: ‘someone needs to tell them retro is dead. Their pretend lives are a fucking waste. Dead as earth. Dead as yesterday. Dead as dreams. Someone needs to tell them they should be out saving the world and curing cancer. Or, something. Not drinking in the same tired bar. Having the same tired conversations. Playing dress up in the same tired costumes. Living the fucking same, tired, pretend lives. Someone needs to tell them that.

But not me.

*

The bartender says her name is…? But fuck if Leslie remembers. All Leslie perceives in her tunnel vision: the bartender makes a mean margarita. Has really big tits. A thirty-ish face starting to show wear. And dirty brown hair. Then two margaritas in tall glasses later–Suzie pays to atone as promised –and it works! The room is fizzing. Their giddy faces the look of two star-crossed lovers. In fact, Suzie appears younger than she really is. With a twenty-two year old kid, Leslie guesses, ol’ Betty-Suzie is forty something-ish. It’s that or she was a Fast Times Stacy Hamilton played by Jennifer Jason Leigh horny high-school gals couldn’t keep her legs crossed. Had him real young. Or maybe it’s the booze showing her what she wants to see. Now. Suzie strolls to the jukebox. A Rock-Ola. She scrolls through the songs, punches the buttons, and ‘Young Americans’ plays. What-EVER. Her dime. Leslie shrugs. Now Betty-Suzie is c’mere dolly with her finger. Hearing the song, the punk pretenders and hipster fakes throw looks her way. Then see it is her and, shrugging too, return to their five dollar Pabst, and dreamy little worlds. Gulping the rest of her margarita, Leslie walks to Suzie. As I said, the drinks are strong; the air is bubbling–the room fizzing. The bartender smiles behind the bar as though she has seen Suzie play this same song before and make this same move. Over the muddled voices through the bar, on the other side, the Big Buck Hunter video game cracks out some shotgun blasts. The reports sound amplified: louder than it should. As if saying: ‘Look! Here? Right here. Don’t you want to shoot some-thing? Kill something? Or someone? A living thing? Any living thing? A living breathing human being? You can pretend it’s your boss. Or it’s your husband. The one who beats the shit out of you for burning the toast. For all his failures as a man. Here! Right here! Now. This is your chance. Life is all a fantasy, anyway. Life could be a dream. Sh-Boom. Sh-Boom. You’re living the dream right now. Reality is what happens between. So live this dream, now. Shoot. Play the game. Nothing wrong with that. It won’t hurt ANYONE. I PROMISE.’ Suzie wants to dance: She is c’mere dolly with her finger and Leslie wants to know her game. Asks “What do you want from me?” Suzie says “I just wanna dance,” pulling Leslie in toward her. Then Suzie, rubbing against Leslie, make it so their breasts squeeze together. But Leslie looks away and, grinning at the floor, incapable looking Suzie in the eye, ‘Nothing in life is free.’ Leslie reminds herself. ‘Everybody wants something. Even when they give they expect something in return.’

Again Leslie hears the Big Buck Hunter, calling. ‘Live the fantasy! Live the Dream!’ We all want to live the dream. Which means taking a fall. But when we fall many of us won’t stand back up.

*

What does Susan want?

The burning question again runs through Leslie’s mind. Suzie strokes Leslie’s hair then her hip, and a wave of gooey warmth shoots up Leslie then back down settling in her pelvis. Leslie has felt that gooey warm goodness twice in her life. First: to the boy she lost her virginity. Second: to the first girl she ever slept with. The only woman she ever truly loved. Elizabeth……..? But fuck if Leslie remembers. It was more than twenty years ago. Leslie was fifteen. Innocent doe-eyed little high school girl couldn’t keep her legs crossed. Even to the other girls. But Leslie don’t want to think about it.

Or her.

But with Suzie, Leslie figures, ‘I got nothin’ to lose.’ Suzie wants to play her little game. FINE. Leslie will play. No sweat off her sack. Suzie had already decided she wanted to fuck Leslie the first moment Suzie laid eyes on Leslie. All women do that. As a female Leslie knows that game: If during the first introduction women don’t like what they see–sorry Charlie!–no pussy for you. Go sniff somewhere else. This applies to other women equally as it applies to men.

Leslie and Suzie are naked on the bed, licking each other. Fucking each other with soft rubber and hard plastic. Tubbs the labradoodle doesn’t know what to make of it. Jumping on and off the bed. Finally jumps up on the bed while Leslie is strapped with one of Suzie’s pink rock hard plastic ten inch models. Leslie is fucking Suzie plain missionary. Tubbs begins sniffing at Leslie’s crotch, licks her pussy, and mounts her.

“Bad dog. Naughty dog.” Suzie giggles. Then starts moaning again.

Lost in the sex–the salty taste and musky smell–Leslie and Suzie lose track of the time. The ecstasy–pure sinful rapture–of exquisite first-time sex that marks great intimate beginnings. Leslie was hoping it would turn out that way. Suzie, too. In the beginning the sex can be the glue that holds it all together. Until you get to know the person you’re sleeping with. (Unless it’s a one-night stand). In this present time who saves themselves for sex anymore? Who waits?  Anybody? Anybody? Not many. If any! But at some point the reality sinks in. When you start to get know the person. It goes blissfully for a time. Until that time. You get to know them. Some what they tell you. But most what they don’t. What you hone in on. What you pick up.

What you read between the lines.

Then you start arriving at decisions who this person really is. You start realizing what a terrible mistake you are making. What a horrible person they are turning out to be. How can I be such a poor judge of character? you ask yourself and just like that–

Poof!

The honeymoon is…

over.

OR.

You find the one.

The right one.

THE PERFECT ONE.

*

Leslie supposes that can happen, too. When you are in love with someone–when you fall–you fall down together. The real test is whether you stand back up together. In the sex afterglow laying in bed with Suzie, Leslie realizes this–all of this.

Leslie and Suzie are just in the beginning. But Leslie can’t help stop thinking on inevitable catastrophic failure. The impending ten car pile-up with mangled bodies in pieces amongst the twisted metal waiting around the bend. Blood and guts splashed across the black top with the strewn bodies. Hanging out the windows of the twisted metal wrecks…..

The upstairs neighbor, George, yells through the floor.

“Hey PSYCHOBITCH! Bagged yourself another one?”

Another one? Suzie yells “FUCK YOU!”

He laughs. “YOU PSYCHOBITCH! STUPID CUNT!–”

“FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU!–”

“–YOU’LL FUCK ANYTHING WITH TWO LEGS!–”

Her face is contorted rage. “–FUUUUCCKK–”

“–ANYTHING THAT MOVES!–”

“–YOOUUU!”

“–YOU FUCKED YOUR OWN SON THAT’S WHY–”

Suzie crumples and breaks down into hysterical uncontrollable weeping.

“–HE’S LOCKED UP IN THE NUTHOUSE WHERE YOU OUGHTA BE!”

“That’s it!” she jumps up. “That’s it! LITTLE MAN!” runs to the dresser, pulling out a .38 revolver. “LITTLE MAN!” runs out of the apartment naked. “LITTLE MAN!” Leslie can hear Suzie run up the stairs. “LITTLE MAN! LITTLE MAN! LITTLE MAN!”

BANG!

“You shot me in the leg! You BITCH!” screams George. Then, “No. Please, God no! NOT THERE!”

BANG!

He is screaming like a stuck pig. BANG! Then no more. She returns, “I did it,” shaking, “I finally did it!”

Leslie blankly stares in utter shock, “I think–”

“I did it!”

“–I think–”

“I finally gave that pig–”

“Suzie?–”

“–what he deserved!”

“I think–”

“I did it!”

“Will you shut the fuck up for just one second and let me get a word in edgewise!”

Suzie looks surprised. Then her face is contorted rage again. She wheels the gun on Leslie. BANG!

Leslie shot in the stomach, screams “YOU PSYCHOBITCH!”

Now Suzie is infuriated. Re-aiming, she starts to pull the trigger, and the police storm the apartment at the last second, before she squeezes the trigger.

The cops shout at her to drop the gun and she spins around. BANG! BANG! BANG!

Then the cops rush over to where Leslie is bleeding out on the bed.

The cops tell her. It’s okay now. The ambulance is on its way. A gunshot wound to the belly is painful. But it takes a long time to die from it. Leslie falls back onto the bed.

She falls; She falls for another woman; She falls into the same dramas every time; She falls for money into the arms of men; She falls and she wonders if she can get her apartment back now that Suzie is out of the picture; Leslie falls over and over again; She falls for women across the planet; She falls so they won’t have to; She falls and when she lands she will pick herself right back up; She falls when she can’t keep her big mouth shut; She falls into her depressing life; She falls into a routine; She falls because misery loves company; She falls when she can’t see past her blinders; She falls through the cracks and keeps on falling.

*

Jason Duke is a former U.S. Army Sergeant and OIF veteran. He writes crime fiction in his hometown Phoenix, Arizona.

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